Five South Florida Jewish day schools have taken steps toward adopting a cutting-edge approach to Jewish education, known as Blended Learning. The technique combines traditional teaching instruction with technological tools to introduce highly personalized student experiences and new models for lifelong learning.
Blended Learning combines established teaching strategies with electronic teaching aids as well as independent study using digital education tools. This hybrid of classroom studies joins with computer-mediated learning and enables each participating student to learn at his or her own pace.
The initiative is being funded by a grant from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation with the generous support of the Avi Chai Foundation, the Targum Shlishi Foundation, and a generous grant from Dr. Shmuel and Evelyn Katz and Moises and Lilian Tabacinic. Additional grants are being sought for the implementation of the program.
Participating Jewish day schools include The Gordon School of Beth David Congregation, Jacobson Sinai Academy, The RASG Hebrew Academy, Lehrman Community Day School, and Scheck Hillel Community School.
Administrators and teachers from the five schools assembled in early September under the umbrella of the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), an agency of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Their two days of discussion morphed into a long-term commitment focused on instructional models of Blended Learning. Educators will continue to meet throughout the coming two years to develop strategies that address specific goals for each school.
The initiative began three years ago when CAJE approached the Avi Chai Foundation, a private foundation committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism and the centrality of the state of Israel. The Jewish Education Project conducted a series of visits to schools in the Miami area and met with local educational professionals. Miami was chosen as a pilot community because of its strong Jewish community and network of high-quality Jewish day schools.
Representative of the five schools will continue to meet and consult with CAJE and the Jewish Education Project during the next two years to learn and institute programs that will address student needs through a Blended Learning solution.
Julie Lambert, CAJE’s director of Professional Learning Initiatives and Early Childhood Education Strategies said, “Our conversations are focused on pedagogy and methodologies in the 21st century that lead to excellence.”